Every item is cut from pure white silk, given a fine satin stitch edge with silk thread, marked for the shibori stitching, then hand-sewn with row after row of strong thread(a). After the first dye bath, the piece is washed and dried. Then all the shibori threads are pulled up tightly and tied off (b). After the second dye bath , washing and drying, the piece has all its shibori threads cut and pulled out and is opened up to its full size(c). (No matter how many times it is repeated, this is always a special moment for the dyer.) Fine finishing and the signature, and it is complete.
The silk has taken on the topography of a miniature mountain range, with the first dye color appearing on the slopes and the second dye color showing on the ridges and in the valleys. Even if they are put through the same dye baths, it is just as impossible for any two silks to be exactly alike as it is for any two mountains to be exactly alike. The texture and the tiny needle holes unique to this dye technique are the memory trace of the creative process.
Jane Steinberg received her B.A. in History of Art from Wellesley College.
Her graduate work, on a Fulbright Scholarship at the Universita’
di Roma, was in the art of the 17th century Italian Mannerists. The years
in Italy were fundamental to her sense of color, and her palette remains
very close to that of the Italian Renaissance painters and the landscape
of Tuscany and Umbria.
Although trained as an art historian, as a dyer she is self-taught. She experimented with resist/dye improvisations that would exploit silk’s thermoplastic properties and put shape, color and texture into the fabric at the same time. It took years of trial and error to arrive at the system she now uses to shape and color the silk. Even after more then two decades of developing her signature dye mixtures and sharpening her skills as a dyer, she continues to refine and fine-tune her colors and the way they work together.
Her sumptuous textiles are the result of years in the service of her personal color vision. The extraordinary range of the colors and combinations allow these silks to coordinate beautifully with contemporary fashion, but unlike contemporary fashion, a Jane Steinberg accessory is timeless.